General

Whether it is your apartment, a building's lobby, hallways or amenities, our design approach is based on hearing your story. It is personal and requires a defining vision. We consider your needs, your dreams, budget and project conditions, all of which frees us to envision.

We are experts at the challenges of transforming dated, worn out conditions into beautiful, useful and value-added property for you. We work with you to define your personality or your building's identity so that the project responds directly to those who use it and the history of the place itself.

We begin by listening to your priorities and translating them into design options. These options are based in our knowledge of code and how the design may be impacted by existing mechanical, plumbing, structural or electrical systems. Our designs explore current and developing materials, fixtures and technology. We are sensitive to cost and will work with you to maximizing your budget. Through mood boards, and other presentation material a concept, style and pallet are defined.  Finally, through a blend of traditional and contemporary presentation technology we work with you to finalize the design.

We like to make sure our clients understand the value of our service so if you have any questions about our process don't hesitate to ask.  No matter the size, scale or program we give our best performance as we collaborate with you.

Design

Existing Conditions Survey

Gathering the right information to start a project is critical to ensure our design process is successful. This means learning about you, your needs and wishes. It also means careful documentation of the specific dimensions and building components. With this we begin to understand the structure, its aesthetics, its limitations, agency requirements and much more.

Design

Planning & Design

We phase the design process. We begin with a mood board and some initial concepts. We then refine these options based upon your input, adding greater detail. These design ideas are then tested with a budget to ensure that you agree with the design intent and cost.

Design

3D Visualization

Plans and elevations alone can be challenging to use in understanding the full depth and feel of the space. So, we include 3D visualization in our services. Images may be black and white or high-resolution color-renderings, based upon your budget and the scale and type of project.

Design

Materials Selection

Our architects and interior designers stay up to date with the latest finishes, lighting, appliance selection and furniture markets. Our knowledge and vendor connections are comprehensive, so you can rest assured that the products we recommend are the best for you and your project. We not only consider the best aesthetic choices; we look at durability and value as well.

Design

Construction Documents

For projects large and small, clear drawings are critical to the contractor's bidding and implementation of the work and to assuring a smooth filing process with City agencies. This clarity directly impacts time and budget. Our services include filing with governing agencies and managing bidding and negotiation.

Design

Construction Observation

This is one of the most overlooked, but most important phases. We enlarge our team to include the selected contractor, a key player. Observation of the demolition and construction of your project is highly recommended, and in fact is required if your project needs to be filed with the City. We typically recommend visits as required to ensure that we address ongoing construction issues in a proactive and timely fashion. Trust, teamwork, open communication is so important and can further improve the outcome.

Design

General

In the late 1990's we started reviewing apartment alterations on behalf of co-ops and condos as a response to seeing the underbelly of our own design projects. We witnessed how prior renovations had compromised fire ratings of structural members, incorrectly connected HVAC ductwork, holes through rated walls and slabs without repair and many other compromised constructions. We now work in over 200 residential buildings including 15 CPW, The Pierre, 998 Fifth, 778 Park, 520 Park, 432 Park and so many more working to protect our City's finest.

The alteration review process is simply to protect residential buildings, owners who are renovating and their neighbors. Our review services take a proactive team approach to preserving and improving the quality of the entire building. Each renovation can improve the quality and safety of the whole.

Keeping property management informed and educated is our best practice. We understand that there is risk in any building alteration, so we partner with our cooperatives and condominiums to manage that risk. We recognize each building has character and we're here to keep it.

As a Board Director or Property manager, how do you define success? We define it by partnering with you to oversee that building's systems are running smoothly and effectively. We will be there for you to help your residents renovate to get the result they are looking for while not jeopardizing neighbor relations, building systems, or its structure.

Alteration Reviews

Pre-Construction Review

Designs are submitted to us in the form of a scope of work and/or a set of drawings and specifications. We review these and on larger more complicated proposals we bring in our engineering consultants. We review the design as it may impact building systems and overall safety. We comment regarding the minimum standards created by Code and elaborate based on specific building quality standards that go beyond agency requirements.

Alteration Reviews

Construction Process

Every project warrants some oversight, be it from your Resident Manager or your Professional consultants. When requested by the building we visit apartment renovations, minimally at milestones, to make observations and prepare field reports on behalf of the Board of Directors. The goal is to ensure the construction is done well, systems restored, safety maintained, and that there are no significant deviations from the approved project.

Alteration Reviews

Select Client List

Of the over 200 buildings we represent, the following is a partial list of some of the more prominent properties.

• The Pierre • River House • 50 West Street • 15 Central Park West • 40 Bond Street • 50 United Nations Plaza • 173-176 Perry Street • 520 Park Avenue • 432 Park Avenue • The Baccarat • One Rockefeller Park • One Beacon Court • 200 11th Avenue

Alteration Reviews

General

Why not just jump right into designing the lobby? Or the Hallways? Maybe the Fitness Center? Is there money available to complete these projects? Is there a need for the renovations? Is there another major capital improvement in the pipeline that affects the building's systems or façade? Has someone developed a master plan?  We can.

We work with management, the board directors and your consultants to ensure all of the building's projects are phased appropriately. Maybe there is a strong desire among residents to update the lobby. We can do that, but we also know that project may need to be put on hold while your exterior engineer completes a major FISP restoration of the façade. We can help you prioritize your projects based upon need, cost, and benefit to the residents.

By managing your consultants and conducting a through existing conditions investigation, along with developing a budget, we can help you plan and prioritize your building's major capital improvements.

We understand that building operations are a living thing and that emergencies and other priorities can arise. We take this into account when it occurs and make relative adjustments to your overall plan in order to address the most current needs. One of the greatest benefits of having an established master plan is that you have a living road map to the future.

We are not only designers; we are also planners. We will be there for you to develop a master plan for the building and work with your consultants to get projects built.

Master Planning

Background

Gathering the right data is critical to ensure the right Master Plan for your building. This means learning about your residents and the needs and wishes of the Building. Some buildings, depending upon the size, have contracted with market research companies to survey all residents. We can effectively take this information and run with it. We also can interview selected board members, management and residents in order to help in our understanding of overall needs. This part of the process also means careful documentation of existing conditions, status of building electrical, mechanical, elevator, structural and plumbing systems and obstructions in the areas being considered for future work. It also means understanding our latest Certification of Occupancy to determine if it will need to be amended, and all accessibility requirements met.

Master Planning

Planning

Only when we have substantiated the background information can we begin to explore options through layout schemes, a code review and budget implications with a contractor, in order to provide you with viable options, including suggested pros and cons, as well as possible phasing of the work. This will help you to make informed decisions.

Master Planning

Consultant Coordination

Most Master Planning involves more than just architecture. We work with consulting exterior façade, mechanical, electrical, plumbing, structural and elevator engineers that are familiar with your building and our process to ensure the plans developed are mindful of your building's systems.

Master Planning

General

With roughly 1 million people over the age of 65 living in NYC, and an expected increase of 50% by 2030, we will soon have more older adults than school-aged children. The population of retirees and young families in NYC has increased, and most of us want to stay in our homes as we age. While NYC and many buildings offer myriad services and amenities close at hand, we know that access to these may be compromised, and an injury can temporarily compromise our abilities. Approximately 11% of New Yorkers have a disability and this increases to nearly 60% for people over 65.

Code requires that all building common areas provide access for all residents. Apartment renovations must comply with current accessibility codes, depending upon when the building was constructed, the extent of the renovation, and the specific conditions. We can work with you to address these as part of a building-wide master plan or to execute a design intervention immediately, depending on cost and existing conditions.

The design strategies that help those with mobility or sensory challenges,  or those at the youngest and oldest ages, often inform good design for all. A client-centered approach is the essence of Inclusive Design and of using a Universal Design process. We approach every project with this sensitivity, as well as with skills in the application of accessibility codes, which is a separate but related component. We are participants in the American Institute of Architects Design for Aging Committee, as well as the City’s committees on code development. We are skilled in designing around the interactive effects of mobility/ cognition/ medications on color, contrast, texture, finishes, lighting and temperature. And we know what furniture, fixtures and technology are appropriate for the individuals served. We understand how to overlay NYC codes with the civil rights acts and rules of ADA and the Fair Housing Act. No matter the size, scale, or budget our focus is to improve the quality of life for all.

Inclusive Design

Services Provided

Our services can include an accessibility survey or accessibility affidavits.  We can provide building master plans, and we can provide designs through construction for entries, common areas, amenities, and individual apartments or bathrooms.

Inclusive Design

Process & Deliverables

Inclusive Design

The process and deliverables can vary depending upon which service is needed. All projects begin with interviewing all constituents and with a survey of all existing conditions, to understand priorities,abilities, and how you are specifically using each space. An accessibility survey or affidavit will focus on the challenges and code violations inherent in the existing condition. A master plan will review travel throughout the building, emergency egress, access to all building amenities and even signage and the quality of light and finishes. Individual apartments and spaces are the most personal, so we focus on the specific needs of the resident as well as their family and visitors. In the case of residents with injuries or special needs, we have collaborated with a resident’s occupational therapist or care team in order to deliver the most thoughtful and creative solutions. We can work with Boards and Management to address modifications that potentially impact co-op and condo rules such as wet over dry issues with roll in showers or space expansions, and we are skilled in the appropriate details for protection.

For all projects, we record all existing conditions and provide a report of all pertinent issues, engaging mechanical, electrical,plumbing or elevator consultants as needed. We provide a code analysis citing specific issues and potential violations. If we go beyond a survey or affidavit, our design approach is similar to all of our projects, which can proceed through construction with full services. As part of the process of providing design options and cost estimates, we provide 3-D views, which give a clear sense of the expected transformation.